Cllr Doran lashes Minister
Health Minister James Reilly has been labelled a ‘disgrace’ by Thurles Town Councillor David Doran (Sinn Fein) who said this week that the treatment of Community Hospital of the Assumption Action Group Chairman Sean Fogarty was petty and unfair.
Minister Reilly visited the hospital in Thurles on Friday and was very warmly received by staff, residents and patients alike. However, most were unaware that Minster Reilly had agreed to come only if Mr Fogarty was not present for the occasion. Mr Fogarty, a former Chairman of the Tipperary County GAA Board, Munster GAA Council and a former GAA Presidential candidate was informed through hospital sources that his presence would not be welcome by the Minister and could jeoprodise the visit.
Mr Fogarty had questioned Minister Reilly at length during a delegation to the Department of Health on a commitment he gave to restore 22 beds to the Hospital of the Assumption which had been cut due to budgetary constraints. Minister Reilly said that he did not remember making such a commitment and as mandated by the Action Group, Mr Fogarty forcibly pointed out the necessary points to the Minister.
“I don’t want this issue of me not being present to take from the news at the hospital. I spent the day in the bog and was delighted to do so, but I am pleased that what we are getting close to full capacity at the hospital and if it took the Ministers cage being rattled to get to this stage, then so be it. Perhaps there is a lesson here for other groups. Not being invited to meet the MInister on Friday doesn’t bother me - I’m not interested in being in photos. I only want to see the beds being re-opened and the hospital returning to maximum capacity. That’s why I got involved in the first place and I don’t want these petty actions to take from the good news,” Mr Fogarty told The Tipperary Star this week.
However, Cllr Doran guardedly welcomed the news and described as ‘a disgrace’ the treatment of Mr Fogarty, a man he regarded as a very fair minded, committed amnd decent individual who did all in hiw power to advance the cause of the hospital. He also said that he did not like the kind of ‘bending over’ to the Minister which was taking place and reminded everyone that seven more beds must be re-opened before the Action Group will rest.
Cllr Noel O’Dwyer said that if MInister Reilly had visited the hospital eighteen months earlier, he would never have closed the beds. “The hospital was in the same condition eighteen months ago as it is today and should never have lost beds. What he did to Sean Fogarty was an awful slur on a very good Chairman and a very honourable man,” Cllr Dwyer said.
Cllr John Kennedy welcomed the positive news from the Ministers visit and said that there was absolutely no doubt but that Minister Reilly was highly impressed with the facilities in the hospital.